States v. spyware

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) released a report yesterday on federal and state laws being used in the battle against spyware. While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) have taken the lead in prosecuting such cases, CDT sees great potential in states to take action against the menace of spyware:
The states are in a unique position to make a great impact in the broader spyware fight. With a relatively small investment in consumer outreach and technical training, states can contribute towards broadening and diversifying the pool of law enforcement officials who are actively combating the spyware problem. CDT encourages more states to join in by taking the following steps:

1. Establish consumer complaint Web sites where computer users can submit complaints about suspected spyware.

2. Establish or support computer forensic capabilities so that consumer protection enforcement agencies can investigate and verify complaints of spyware and trace responsibility.

3. Train investigators and prosecutors in identifying the attributes of spyware that violate existing laws.
In easy-to-read tables, the report summarizes FTC, state, and federal spyware cases.

In the state cases:

New York settled a case in 2005 and has one case pending, under its General Business Law §§349-350 and its Executive Law §63(12).

Texas has a case pending against Sony under its Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act, Business and Commerce Code, §48.001 (p. 5) et seq.

Washington filed its first suit in January under its new Computer Spyware Act, chapter 19.270, RCW. Three defendants (Chen, Preston, and Traub) have settled.

Spyware Enforcement (pdf, 248KB, 16p.)


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